Make The Most of Opportunities – Priorities & Planning

24-Portfolio-Stop-and-Smell-the-Roses“Make the most of every opportunity” is something that rings in my ears frequently and the volume has been way up lately!

Our eldest son just graduated from college and, as all parents do, I thought “where has the time gone”? A question I ask often.

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and feel like it just slipped away.

Old people always say things like ‘take time to smell the roses,’ but we’re encouraged to set goals, be focussed and work hard to attain them. The questions is, how do we do both?

When I fly by the seat of my pants I usually get a lot done (I am very task oriented) but flying by the seat of my pants makes it more difficult for me to be completely ‘present’ because my brain wonders what I ‘should’ be doing. As you may know I hate that word ‘should,’ so it really irritates me when I realize I am shoulding on myself.

My AhHa was realizing why a little planning helps me be fully present. . . It allows me to make the most of the present opportunity rather than thinking about what I could or should be doing.

**Daily planning when spawned from goals can be good, but all too often when I focus only on this, I accomplish a lot toward those goals but still feel empty. Living a more fully integrated life has helped me meet goals and feel a sense of fulfillment. By including my core values and deepest desires in my planning I am able to attain both. Centering only on the doings of life like career planning causes a feeling of emptiness and as though I’ve missed the roses along the way. I have zero desire to reach my career goals yet when I reach retirement, or worse, my death bed, to look back and feel like life slipped away. So I’m into prevention!

Intentionally planning to have meaningful relationships and trying to remember to cherish each moment helps me plan more wisely and makes me more conscientious about time management. I plan to take time each day for those I love, although I must say, I struggle to make time for long distance relationships. I’m not so good at making room for the stuff of life either, like the daily tasks of laundry, cooking and such, but even those become less mundane when I look at the bigger picture. The stuff of life moves from being an obstacle or hindrance to an opportunity, but believe me, I still have tons of room to grow!

What I know is that by taking time each evening to be purposeful in my planning I am more likely to make the most of every opportunity. A few of my most recent opportunities have included joining my husband in yard work, listening to one my youngest sons new ideas (I have no idea what he was talking about but I am interested in him so I listened and tried to learn about being a DJ), helping clean a house so some young men could get their deposit back, making graduation announcements, working on my next speaking engagement etc…. They are all opportunities and I want to make the most of them. I’ve found that if I cheerfully help clean up the yard, chatting and connecting with my husband in the process, even though I forgot to actually smell the roses, it doesn’t matter. These opportunities are the roses of life. When I dread them, they’re more like a thorn bush. When I choose to embrace them as opportunities, I enjoy them, like the scent of a rose.